Bridging the GAP from Destruction to Rehabilitation for Balakot Town, Pakistan

Document Type : Risk Management


Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority Prime Minister Secretariat (Public) Islamabad


The Earthquake of 2005 in Pakistan destroyed more than 600,000 houses in the area covering 30,000 square km, equal to the size of New Zealand. Most of the houses were located in the rural areas i.e. on the mountains or inside the deep mountainous valleys. However, the three major urban settlements in the area, the towns of Balakot, Muzafferabad and Bagh were badly affected. The ill-fated town of Balakot with estimated population of 37,000 was destroyed completely. 5000 people died and 95% of the infrastructure facilities were demolished. Later, the national and international consortium of specialists confirmed that the town is located on two major fault lines, running parallel all along the town. It was also confirmed that the epicenter of the 2005 Earthquake in Pakistan was 10 kmdeep beneath the town of Balakot. Interestingly, originating from central Asia region, the fault line enters Pakistan from the North West and pass through the towns of Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Bagh, then continues into Hindustan (India). To provide safe living environments for the affected towns, Urban Strategy was formulated by the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority. Transitional Housing Project and City Improvement Plan also became parts of the Urban Strategy to provide a reasonable, reliable and decent residential solution. In this paper, the interventions and strategies prepared and implemented to rehabilitate and reconstruct the town of Balakot and its peripheral areas after the devastating earthquake of 2005 is highlighted.